(March 7, 1932 – March 24, 1996) was a Mexican film actress and one of the most acclaimed Mexican ranchera singers, nicknamed Lola la Grande (“Lola the Great”).
In her native town of Rosario, Lola Beltrán completed secretarial studies while she participated in singing competitions. She then moved to Mexico City, never to return to Rosario, working as a secretary at Mexico’s number-one radio station, XEW, where she was professionally discovered by radio announcer Raul Mendivil.
She was married to matador and film actor Alfredo Leal and had two children with him: a daughter, singer María Elena Leal, and son José Leal. She entered the world of film in 1954 in El Tesoro de la Muerte. After appearing in dozens of films, most of them musicals, she obtained a starring role in the telenovela Mi rival with Saby Kamalich. From 1976 to 1984 she also hosted the musical shows Noches Tapatías and El Estudio de Lola Beltrán respectively.
Lola Beltrán is still considered one of the most successful ranchera artists of all time. She gave concerts before various world leaders: President Charles de Gaulle of France, the leader of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito, Soviet minister Andrei Gromyko, Premier of the Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev, King of Spain Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia, Queen Elizabeth II, American Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon and Presidents of Mexico Adolfo Ruiz Cortines and Carlos Salinas de Gortari.
She was the first ranchera singer to perform at the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts), the premier opera house and concert hall in Mexico. She also sang in the Olympia Music Hall in Paris, the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow and the Conservatory of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) in the former Soviet Union.
Lola Beltrán was honored in 1995 with her inclusion into a series of commemorative postage stamps, issued by her native Mexico, honoring ‘Popular Idols of Radio’. This was done in recognition of her lifetime achievement in the realm of popular music and her success in spreading an appreciation of Mexican culture throughout the world.
Soon after recording Disco del Siglo (English: Album of the Century) with Lucha Villa and Amalia Mendoza “La Tariácuri” (produced by Juan Gabriel) she died of a massive pulmonary embolism at Ángeles Hospital in Mexico City. Her body lay on display in the rotunda of the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City in order to give her countrymen a chance to say goodbye. Only the most acclaimed artists, recording artists, poets, writers and actors are accorded this honor.